We don’t advertise it much, but Jane Winchester creates custom coin designs upon request. It is a financial investment but a one-of-a-kind piece which holds incredible meaning for the wearer. When I launched the concept a sorority sister was one of the first to reach out, and the coin we created together may be my most favorite things I’ve ever made.
Amber was battling Hodgkin Lymphoma, Nodular Sclerosing. She felt a lump in her neck and after testing she got the bad news. Hodgkin Lymphoma is a blood cancer in the lymphatic system that typically affects people 15-35 years old or over 50 - typically males. Amber was 44-year-old women and lymphoma was not the expected diagnosis. While it had spread, she was considered Stage 2a-3a and favorable. It could be treated, and she began a rigorous regimen of chemotherapy followed with targeted radiation to her neck and chest nodes to prevent a return of the cancer.
So, I had to ask Amber…
Is designing a custom coin with me fun? HA! Not a real question – more like…what made you want a custom coin? Was it something to hold on during a tough time? Or a physical reminder of how you felt at one point?
“The first one of your coins I bought was the PEACE coin. It reminds me of my dad. He died in a car crash unexpectedly at age 63, it rocked my world, but the idea of making PEACE with it inspired me. The adventure of crafting a coin for myself was exciting. The past year has been surreal, and I think the coin will be both a beacon of hope and a symbol of the word GRACE which has come to symbolize so much to me. Grace for me is Faith, acceptance, waves, light, calm, style and being southern, but also handling the unexpected with grace is meaningful to me.”
The part that I loved most about it? The incredible poem (below) that Amber shared with me about cancer. The words she chose helped bring me into how she was feeling – both the strength and the fear. And when she chose the word GRACE, I cried. I could not have chosen a word that fits Amber more…she is the epitome of grace.
So, the question is where do we go from here. Amber asked if I would consider offering a version of the coin we designed as an option to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My Dad died from Leukemia, so I want to do it. If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them…and be on the lookout for a version of GRACE to benefit cancer in some way or form.
Currently Amber is thankful to be in remission. She just wrote me yesterday…
“My husband and I are in New Orleans this weekend celebrating one year of being cancer free from the end of my treatments. I finished radiation in mid Feb last year. I have been wearing my beautiful Grace pendant with pride and strength!”
By Amber Lynch
I was drowning.
Slowly the water was rising and I didn’t even know it.
I swam harder and faster, but it wasn’t enough.
I saw the raft and lay my tired body upon it.
I was carried to the shore.
I crawled to the sand.
I breathed in the salty air.
I was drenched in the beauty of the sunlight.
The sea kept raging beside me, but I could rest.
When I felt ready,
I knew I had to dip my toes in the water.
I didn’t remember how to swim.
I had to learn to tread water every day.
I began to learn strokes again.
Before I knew it I was swimming in the deep water.
I was keeping my head above water.
Every now and then I would forget the strokes and start paddling.
I would get tired and look for the horizon.
I focused on the line ahead of me, aiming for the shore.
The seas got rougher, not like before,
But a steady rain brought the tide higher.
I struggled to keep up.
I wanted to swim alone, to be strong enough.
The waves crashed upon the shore,
the rain poured down on me,
I kept swimming.
I found my strength, my courage.